Barbados and Caribbean governments will soon have before them, a ten-point proposal for reparations from the colonial European powers on behalf of black people in the region.
Making the announcement this afternoon during a lecture on reparations at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus, Principal of the UWI, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles disclosed that the first submission from the CARICOM Commission on Reparations and Social Injustice will be made to the governments during a conference on March 10 and 11.
Sir Hilary, who is chairman of the commission, explained that since reparations was a government-to-government transaction, the CARICOM leaders would make representation to the Europeans, based on the submission.
He said the first and most important demand contained in the ten-point plan that must be honoured by the colonial powers, particularly Britain, is an apology for their crimes against humanity, meaning the black people of the Caribbean.
He said there can be no closure without an apology; and after that all other issues will fall into place.
Sir Hilary insisted that the second requirement on the reparation submission is reparations.
Other “rights” which the commission said the people are entitled to include the funding of indigenous peoples programmes, the all-expenses paid repatriation of those who want to return to Africa, public health financing, a assistance for literacy programmes, debt cancellation and a psychological rehabilitation programme.
The prominent academic and historian insisted that Britain, which was the greatest slave owners, must be made accountable for the treatment of the Africans who were stolen and brought over to the Caribbean and were not only exterminated over 200 years, but were also dealt with as chattel property, and not human beings.
“This practice has gone on for 200 years, ships passing across the ocean every day and throwing people off every day; so the marine life will accommodate that reality cause now you have a source of protein coming across the Atlantic and the sharks will follow the ships; so you throw them, within half an hour, they are all gone,” the UWI principal pointed out.
He noted, too, that the colonial governments were responsible for the epidemic of ill health in the region, such as growing hypertension, heart disease and diabetes because of the hundreds of years of slavery, dislocation and families, raping of black people, illiteracy and lack of proper infrastructure and technological development.